Archive for March, 2013

On “Rape is rape,no exceptions”

This is in reference to “Rape is rape, no exceptions” (IE March 21st) by Mrinal Satish .He rightly points out that rape is rape irrespective of how and where it is committed. Marriage is sanctimonious and does not allow for rape since it is a contract between two adults whereby both are equals. It calls for consent between two willing adults united in marriage. By no stretch of one’s imagination does it presuppose that one is inferior to the other-it also does not yield to the notion that the wife becomes the property of the husband to do what he likes and when he likes. It does not presuppose that marriage can become a right for the husband to become a perpetrator and the wife a victim.
If marriage is a sacrament then again it imposes on the couple equal rights and duties. This is further galvanized by our Constitution which confers equal rights on individuals. It is a sorry state of affairs to hand over this important women’s rights issue to a group of empowered group of parliamentarians. Hence the author is right when he states that to hand over this significant issue “to a group of parliamentarians to advocate extra-legal solutions to violations of basic fundamental rights is worrying”. It is strange that the Parliamentarians cannot realize that violation of human rights can be perpetuated within marriage and outside it. It is not that when a woman marries she forfeits her autonomy and her basic right of selfhood. She does not become the property of the husband to do what he wants with her. This notion is outdated and will not stand the test of constitutional rights. It is this andro-centric mind set which is the cause of domestic violence and sexual violence and sexual rape within the marriage. The sanctity of marriage is then lost and the contractual consent to treat each as adults is forfeited. There is no marriage then. The marriage then becomes a licensed institution for perpetuators to victimize the ‘wives’.
May be the Parliamentarians are not aware of the kind of violence and forced sexual assault and sexual rape that happens under the garb of matrimonial alliance. Is marriage then a freedom conferred to the man to let him do what he wants with his wife even without her consent? A marriage presupposes the consent of both the husband and wife for sexual intercourse. One cannot impose on the other. In the present state of affairs it is a tragedy that marriage becomes a ‘free pass’ given to the man-here the husband, to do what he wants and when he wants. Then there is no marriage and no sanctity of marriage which our Parliamentarians are trying to uphold if it cannot uphold the constitutional rights of the woman-here the wife.
It also prejudges that women cannot be trusted-they lie. On the other hand it is the man who lies because for a woman she looks for both economic and social security and carries on irrespective of the sexual violence domestic violence and rape within marriage because society is thus structured. The society’s attitude can be well gauged by the perception of our Parliamentarians-who think that a woman once married must submit to the husband no matter what it is-no matter how violent no matter how dehumanizing and no matter how degrading-all this because she is no longer a person and has no identity except that of her husband’s. Is it small wonder then that our female feticides and infanticides are high? Once you have lost your PERSONHOOD what else is there-a woman becomes chattel.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
Vadodara

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March 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm 4 comments

Government showering lavishness on the netas

‘House for Pratibha Patil expands from 2,906 sq.ft to 6000 sq ft’ How large hearted is the government when it comes to shower lavishness on these netas? Why does Pratibha Patil deserve this lavishness and large heartedness of the government? Can anyone explain? Like nobody’s business rules are violated. When the President’s Pension Rules cites that if a former President is provided accommodation on a leased property ‘the living area should not exceed 2000 sq ft Why then an exception was made for Mrs Patil.Are rules structured to be broken?Is Pratibha Patil one who is BPL and has no house of her own? What extraordinary feats did she perform as a President for the Minister of Urban Development to grant her this largess? What is remembered of Pratibha Patil was that she was the most insensitive callous President we ever had when it came to spending money and incurring large sums of expenditure on her holidaying with her extended family. She made it a point to visit the maximum number of countries. I wonder what these visits of hers earned for India-political goodwill ?It is a shame for a poor country like ours to shower such largess on her at the cost of people’s hard earned money.What is noticeable is that when it comes to spending money from the public exchequer the government is very large hearted Unaccountability,insensitivity and lack of a sense of austerity and no direction and firmness on the part of the people who are responsible for such corruption and corrupt practices. It is a deception of the people.
The same thing can be said of others also. For example Pranab’s son-Abhijit Mukherjee is a first time MP and is entitled only to a much smaller accommodation than the one now he occupies -13, Talkatora Road-the official bungalow of his father. One wonders what reason had the House Committee to bestow on him this bonanza. This cannot continue. It all started from the Nehru Gandhi family.
On what logical reason does Mrs Sonia Gandhi reside in No 10 Janpath. It was the former Prime Minister-Rajiv Gandhi’s residence. And as such it should have been handed back to the government for allocation and not made an heirloom- or an ancestral property. Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s ancestral house is in Italy-not here in India and as such as an MP she cannot lay a claim to No 10 Janpath Road.
The same can be said of Priyanka Vadra.How is she entitled to a government bungalow? Security reasons were cited.But she has enough money to engage the best security services.While her husband Vadra is acquiring land Priyanka can be cocooned in the best security service the world’s best money can buy.Why are these people who have amassed so much wealth and land still living on the people and their hard earned money? Is it not shameful? One would think twice before spending someone’s money; but not these heartless and corrupt people. Is the public exchequer their personal kitty? The Congress party should dip into its own kitty to provide for its leaders,daughter, and son-in-law suitable accommodation. It is not the business of the common people to provide such to these leaders at such enormous costs. ‘Money does not grow on trees’ these people have forgotten. It is the sweat and hard toil of the common people who live without proper accommodation on roadsides,and on platforms.It is the blood money of those who elk out a living-it is the hard labor of the poor farmers, the headload workers and the miners that the public exchequer is filled with…a small percentage of course from the rich.(Even the tax money of lakhs of crores of Hasan Ali Khan has been written off by the ever generous government- on what basis one wonders).
But what gives this political class the right to spend such money of the public exchequer on themselves. What ensures them this right? It is nothing short of looting people. But these people are shameless and have no qualms to spend other people’s sweat money. Some where the line must be drawn .I am sure these are not the only cases-Renuka Chowdry-Mani Shankar Iyer when they were no more MPs did not vacate their official residences but stuck on till they became MPs. Is there no accountability or rules to discipline these netas?Is the poor of the country to be looted directly and indirectly through almost every aspect of the life style of the political class?
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
Vadodara

March 13, 2013 at 8:29 am 6 comments

Rejoinder to reinventing Narenda Modi

This is in reference to ‘Reinventing Narendra Modi’ by Arati R.JERATH(March 6th TOI)The dynamics of reinvention is essentially the making of the media and of writers who does not spare a chance when it comes to bashing Modi.Modi will be Modi and cannot be Vajpayee and surely that is not called for.Each one has one’s own background, learning experiences and perception to deal with the problems of Indian politics. Vajpayee had his own. I would not want the same of Modi because times have changed. Each leader leaves his/her own footprints in the sands of time. Why should one fit into the other? If Modi invocated Vajpayee as his role model he had the right to do because Vajpayee is his leader.
Modi from what one perceives is capable of handling two constituencies-namely the core Hindu support and the ‘multiple disparate ego-centric regional satraps’.Vajpayee had his own ability to draw a consensus. He yielded easily to these ‘ego-centric satraps’.The DMK joined the BJP for all its anti Hindu stand when Vajpayee most willingly offered the plum post of a Cabinet minister to Murasoli Maran.When when on the death of the latter the BJP refused to take his son Kalanidhi Maran as a minister then the DMK withdrew its support calling the BJP communal. Similarly with Mamata who was roped in by yielding to her whims and fancies and offering plum posts. This is what Vajpayee did. May be Modi will have his own way of dealing with the coalition partners.
Today what India needs is a strong Prime Minister at the centre who can withstand the combinations and permutations of coalition governance. Nobody appears on the political horizon with a wealth of parliamentarian experience. One learns in due course by dealing with problems and governance. It is a bit strange that the media and Congress considers Rahul Gandhi fit for the PM’s post when he has none of the stature. sharpness and vision for such a job.The one fact being that he is Nehru-Gandhi family.Still the fact that he is even considered shows that no eligibility or criteria of abilities, perception, and political acumen are called for.
How effective will Modi be is to be seen. The test of the pudding is in the eating of it. He has been effective in whatever he has so far undertaken. He certainly does not need to fit himself in the shoes of Vajpayee because he has his own. He does not belong to the dynastic category to fall back on his grandmother and father. He is on his own. A self made man. More important he belongs to the ordinary class/caste. And hence he understands the problems of the ordinary.
The Gujarat riots are the only sad episode that is being held against him. Even here it is prejudice and a double standard that is being applied. Why Rajiv Gandhi was not made accountable for the Sikh massacre? Why was the Congress an acceptable political party to govern this country when it failed not only to protect a minority community right in the capital but its leader even went to the extent of justifying the genocide? Its leaders who indulged in brutality and in massacre were rewarded for this. How has the media taken to this? How have writers been soft pedaling this issue?
Why only Modi is being arraigned for something in which the courts have not found him guilty? Is the Congress and others afraid of having a strong man, a man courageous in words and actions-whom writers term as ‘muscular brand of politics’ unacceptable? Do we need a soft approach-some blue eyed mamma’s boy so that the country can be continued to be looted and expose the country to scams on every aspect of governance. But then was there governance at all with the UPA 1 and 2? Call it dictatorial but a firm and strong man/woman we need at the helm of affairs if the wrongs has to be righted and if right has to be upheld. What Modi can dream of doing and not doing is his business. It is unfair and illogical to prejudge. As one sees Modi is the right man for the top job-if he thinks he needs to reinvent himself-reinvent he will. He has the ability and the foresight to meet challenges and accordingly act. Is this worrying the Congress and a few anti-Modi writers? He will carry everyone along with his governance-the majority and the minority but he will at all costs uphold the Constitution of this country.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
Vadodara

March 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm 5 comments

‘On thinking aloud’

This is with reference to Sudheendra Kulkarni’s ‘PC’s flawed mool mantra’(March 3rd IE) I was scanning the news on the Budget and nowhere did I find the essence for equitable growth. The one word that was missing and sadly so was JUSTICE. One can have growth –which can be lopsided in spite of the oft repeated inclusiveness .But Justice is what makes growth equitable and brings in the core of ethics in the whole road map towards development. That PC Chidambaram missed this reveals a mindset which is prevalent with the political nehas. If only we can have progress with Justice then there will be harmonious and inclusive growth. Growth by itself cannot be progress and development. It can in fact be anti-development. The inching of India towards a Banana republic is a sign of this growth without justice. There is no thought of ethics. In all that we do-in all that is planned for the country’s onward march the two essential ingredients are ethics and Justice.
All the maladies and ills of society-the violence and the brutality of violence can all be traced to the lack of ethics. This cannot be automatically envisaged. It has to be pronounced and willfully planned out. It must be reflected in every move the Finance Minister plans. For example taxing the super rich is one such ethical move. Netting the poorest of the poor is another. But using religion to identify the poorest of the poor irrespective of the Sachar report cannot be called ethically because it is unconstitutional. If the Muslim brethren are poor it is automatic that they will be netted in by using economic yardsticks. This is ethical and urgently called for by any nation which wants a equitable growth
Justice has to be focused-not allowed to somehow become an ‘inclusive’ criterion. Justice for all calls for targeting not only the poorest of the poor but also the super rich. One, to level down the hills, and the other, to fill up the valleys. Only then can there be harmony. Justice, also brings in the concept of the rights of the deprived. The word is not merely poor but deprived .Which means they have been wronged-one sees there is injustice in not sharing the fruits of the earth-the wealth of this country cannot belong to the mighty and the powerful. The wealth of this country belongs to the people of this country-the powerless and the asset less. Once this is accepted then the criteria to focus will be the powerless and the assetless.It is here that children and women come in. So at every phase of planning and distribution of the budgetary allocation the need is to highlight Justice. Without Justice there can be no peace and harmony.It is not sufficient just to raise the taxes. A pull up there and a pull down here makes no sense unless the ‘Pulls are justified and essential to level the ground and share what is rightful.It is not mercy or benevolence neither patronage that is called.This is where the NAC must sit up .Most the plans of the NAC clearly shows a patronizing attitude.This is unjust and identifies people for crumbs.If we have posh multi facility hospitals in the country and if that is not sufficient enough then we can go abroad for treatment-lets give the rural poor a clinic with no medicine or doctors.If we have the best land-grab more and lets push the poor to the fringes of the gutter. If we have a basket of alternatives-bread and butter and jam and meat and fish and eggs-and all that’s good lets give the poor some subsidized wheat. ‘The best for me and the worst for you’. This calls for attitudinal change and the concept of Justice to be incorporated in every phase and plan of the planning process.
The prism for development must then be Justice and this cannot come without ethics. All the Rights are anchored on this. It is not on the sheer goodwill of the NAC with Mrs Sonia Gandhi as the chairperson to decide on the crumbs that should be thrown to the starving. It is for the Planning Commission to envisage a holistic development which is based on equitable -distribution and it is for the Finance Minister in his budget to allocate the resources according to the rights of the people. It is Justice that must resound throughout and for this one must have an ethical mindset and values that are deeply entrenched in- We the People-The democratic rights of the people and their rightful share is a must for growth. This cannot be based on patronage and should not be seen so. No party can claim the honor of such patronage. Giving people their rightful share in development calls for partnership-collaboration and co-operation.
The Finance minister is good with his vocabulary but missed on these vitals areas. National goal is no mere development but equitable distribution of the fruits of governance. (Provided there is governance.)It is in this context that one must ask why was there no mention of graft and the reason for writing off Hasan Ali Khan’s tax. These are looted wealth of the people. It is hence called for that these must be accounted for-the people must be informed of these-the looted monies must be reclaimed and used towards upholding a growth towards Justice? For in a democracy the people are the owners of the wealth of the country-they have a right not to alms but to their share. One really missed this core ingredient namely- Justice, in the Finance Minister’s ‘verbal sophistry of the Budget presentation. It is a pity.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
Vadodara

March 3, 2013 at 6:09 am 2 comments


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